Watford 2-1 Norwich
- Goals: Craig Dawson (£4.8m), Danny Welbeck (£5.8m) | Emi Buendía (£6.0m)
- Assists: Etienne Capoue (£4.8m), Ismaïla Sarr (£6.1m) | Onel Hernández (£5.3m)
- Bonus Points: Welbeck x3, Buendía x2, Capoue x2
Watford’s 2-1 win over Norwich did not throw up much of interest for Fantasy managers, other than those on the hunt for extreme differentials between now and the end of the season.
The Hornets showed great determination to come from behind to win and it is their assets that are likely to be on the mavericks’ radars over the next two Gameweeks, when they face the relatively porous defences of Newcastle and West Ham.
Incredibly, Craig Dawson (£4.8m) could be one of those options as he extended his lead as Watford’s top goal-scorer since the Premier League restarted last month.
We probably should not be too surprised that the former West Bromwich Albion man delivered against Norwich as he went into Gameweek 34+ top for shots in the box among defenders in the previous four matches.
Such a statistic, paired with a favourable Tuesday-evening match-up, earned Dawson a place in the Scout Picks, rewarding them with an eight-point haul.
The centre-back has now scored in two of Watford’s last two home matches and, still with more shots than any colleague since the Premier League returned, he has to be considered one of their primary goal threats for Newcastle’s visit to Vicarage Road next time out.
Even though they were deserved winners over Norwich on Tuesday, Nigel Pearson’s men did produce most of their threat from set-pieces, which probably doesn’t say too many great things about what they can offer from open play, although it does suit Dawson, of course.
Fantasy managers may want to keep an eye on the fortunes of Danny Welbeck (£5.8m) though, as he scored his first-ever Premier League goal for Watford.
In just his fourth start of the campaign, the former Manchester United forward latched onto Ismaïla Sarr‘s (£6.1m) deflected cross to hook home a spectacular bicycle kick against Norwich.
Since losing Gerard Deulofeu (£6.1m) to a knee injury in Gameweek 28, Pearson’s side has lacked balance on the left-hand side of midfield.
With Sarr nailed-on as the right-winger, several assets have had a turn on the left since the Premier League including Roberto Pereyra (£5.6m) and Will Hughes (£5.3m).
Welbeck took on the role against Norwich and, if he can stay fit, could hold onto it for the remainder of the season as he asked plenty of questions in Gameweek 34+ with his pace and physicality, often drifting into positions to support Troy Deeney (£6.2m).
“It’s been frustrating for Danny because he came with a big reputation but was injured so early. He’s been patient and his desire to get back has been really big. When I’ve not played him he’s been disappointed but he has to trust us to look after him.” – Nigel Pearson
However, it is worth saying that in the case of Dawson and Welbeck, they were, of course, helped by more poor defending from Norwich.
In fact, this was another match which arguably boosted the Fantasy credentials of those about to face the Canaries in the near-future more than anything else. It’s West Ham and Chelsea up next for Daniel Farke’s men, by the way.
As much as Dawson was causing problems for Norwich all evening, the defending for his goal was rather soft and Welbeck’s strike could have been prevented with better tracking of runners on the Watford counter. Good news for Michail Antonio (£6.9m), Jarrod Bowen (£6.4m), Willian (£7.2m) and Christian Pulisic (£7.2m) owners in the coming Gameweeks.
However, Fantasy managers should just be aware that Norwich are still making some progress away from being clean sheet fodder. Their improvements going forward have hardly been ground-shaking, and it’s certainly too late to save them from relegation, but it might be enough to frustrate a few punters chasing defensive returns against them in the coming weeks.
Emi Buendía (£6.0m) had one of his better Premier League games on Tuesday evening, going close to getting his first goal in the top flight in the second minute when he looped a free-kick to the top right-hand corner of Ben Foster‘s (£4.9m) goal before it was saved.
He then finally broke that duck two minutes later when Norwich strung together a counter-attack.
Onel Hernández (£5.3m) won the ball against right-back Kiko Femenía (£4.2m), ran into the middle channel and had time and space to find Buendía. The Argentinian tied up left-back Adam Masina (£4.3m), before cutting inside on his right foot to bend a sharp effort past Foster.
Just before the hour-mark, Hernández had a powerful blasted shot blocked by Dawson before Max Aarons‘ (£4.3m) placed effort was stopped by a sprawling Foster foot.
Adam Idah (£4.4m) also continues to show some promise, unlucky yet again not to get his first Premier League goal. Jamal Lewis (£4.4m) found space on the left for a cross, which Josip Drmic (£5.3m) nodded on at the front-post. Idah slid in at the back-post, making contact with the ball but could not get enough purchase to steer it inside the post.
The young forward is getting closer to a goal with each passing outing, so it would not be too surprising to seem him finally get it against either West Ham or Chelsea, whose own defences have shown suspect signs in recent outings.
Watford XI (4-2-3-1): Foster; Masina, Dawson, Kabasele, Femenía; Hughes (Cleverley 59′), Capoue (Chalobah 87′); Welbeck, Doucouré, Sarr; Deeney.
Norwich City XI (4-2-3-1): Krul; Lewis, Klose, Godfrey, Aarons; Tettey (McLean 55′), Vrančić; O Hernández (J Martin 83′), Stiepermann (Idah 76′), Buendía; Pukki (Drmic 83′).
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